We recommend buying a microphone that can plug in to your PC’s USB slot. The Blue Snowball is available for $50 and will make a big difference to sound quality compared to a headset.
Whenever you start recording, think about things in your environment that might make noise. Is there a fan on your computer? Can you hear mouse clicks as you scroll through your script? Can you hear Refrigerators? Cell phones? Cats? Dogs? Birds?
Use headphones to monitor your recording. Turn them up to listen to what the microphone is hearing before you start recording. Try to minimize any extra noise as much as possible.
It is also important to think about the acoustics of the space you’re in. Hard, flat surfaces reflect sound like a mirror reflects light. Leave space around you and your microphone to minimize early reflections. Set up on a carpet, near some bookcases, and away from walls. Also avoid reverberant spaces. Some offices, classrooms, conference rooms, and huddle spaces can be especially reverberant.
Stand and Deliver
Try standing up when recording to help provide better air support and a strong read. This can also help mitigate early reflections caused by a desk. If you do need something to hold your script, a music stand works well. Consider placing a piece of foam or a carpet sample on the music stand behind your script, to avoid early reflections.
When recording using an external microphone, you will likely be asked by your PC to set how loud you want the input to be. It is important to keep your input around halfway up the meter you are shown. They are likely to look something like the following:
Test and Listen
One of the most important things you can do is record a few lines of text and then listen to them back, to make sure you are comfortable with your set-up. How does it sound? It is better to make mistakes earlier than halfway through your list of names.